Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ground Zero Mosque. Auschwitz Convent.

On the sunny and pleasant afternoon of July 4, 1999 – somehow it's always a beautiful day – I was commuting home, on foot, along Third Street in Bloomington, Indiana. A garish yellow crime-scene tape and a bloody mess in front of a street-side Methodist Church suddenly blocked my progress. I asked the police officer for an explanation – why did he order that I take a lengthy detour? He brusquely ordered me away. Idiot lefty that I once was, I automatically said, "Fascist," (still ashamed of that) and took the detour.



The blood on the sidewalk had previously nested securely in and fueled Won-Joon Yoon, a 26-year-old doctoral student. I would later, at the funeral, meet his family; they'd flown in from Korea. They were some of the loveliest people, and most devout Christians, I've ever met. Struggling to find the right thing to say, I opened, in my comments to his sister, by mentioning that I'd lost two brothers. This beautiful, poised woman rushed in to comfort *me* – at her brother's funeral. Won-Joon Yoon's father recited the 23rd Psalm, in perfect English, from memory. Everyone there – I could feel it – felt his or her own faith strengthened by this martyr's father's magnificence in the face of horror.


We, the citizens of Bloomington, had every reason to know that something like this was going to happen.


Publications had been left in our driveways. We had read these publications. We knew the drill.


The killer, whose name I refuse to mention, had been a member of a recognized religious group, a church, whose name I also refuse to mention. Let's just call it the killer-church. (I like and admire many things about Judaism: one of these is the tradition, shared with ancient Rome, of cursing fame-seeking wrongdoers to the erasure of their name: yimach shmo ve-zichro. Damnatio memoriae.)


The killer-church is a neo-Nazi church. The killer-church's publications, which the killer had left on my property and others, had named enemies, and an agenda. The killer-church hated Jews and blacks, all immigrants, etc. Christianity was a "deadly mind poison." The killer had apparently scored a trifecta in killing Won-Joon Yoon: he was an immigrant, he was non-white, and he was a Christian, entering a Christian Church on the Fourth of July. The killer-church's agenda is world domination through violence. The killer would start on this task by killing us, the citizens of Bloomington.


We were warned. We knew. We didn't take action. We tried to be nice, to be politically correct, to dialogue, to be tolerant. There were many town meetings. I attended one. After hours of talk, one Bloomington resident – I so wish I had gotten this bright and brave man's name – stood and shouted, "I'm NOT tolerant. I'm not tolerant of Nazis!!!"


He got it. No one else in the room did.


We erected nice little lawn signs.


Because, you know, the cardinal sin of political correctness is to be intolerant. We were afraid of being intolerant of a man who had a hit list that he'd distributed all over town. His scripture stated that he was going to kill us because we were the wrong religion, the wrong belief system. We couldn't be intolerant of that. Because intolerance was the worst sin in our church, the smug, university-town Church of Political Correctness.


Indiana is, north-to-south, quite long. Indiana is a northern state (Gary, Chicago suburbs), and a southern state: many Appalachian-born poor whites serve meals in the university cafeterias, and clear its grounds.


After the killings, the town's elites – university professors, journalists – began naming and shaming what they openly called "white trash," "trailer trash," and "rednecks." Professors and journalists openly stated that Bloomington's poor, Christian whites were all racist. The "rednecks" were clearly responsible for the killing.


In fact, the killer was not a redneck. He was a well-educated Indiana University student from a Chicago suburb. Not Southern. Not poor. Not a Christian.


Politically Correct elites are stuck like a needle in a record. The technologically-outdated metaphor is suitable to its outdated referent. PC elites can blame only their enemies of choice. Even when it is plain that their enemies of choice are not culpable, and that a new enemy, no matter how identifiable and articulate, looms. After 9-11, so many rushed to ask, "Why do they hate us?" As if we had done something naughty, and deserved to be firebombed.


I have a question I'm dying to ask those who support a mosque at Ground Zero.


What if the neo-Nazi killer-church were to demand to open a house of worship in Bloomington, Indiana? What if they wanted their killer-church house of worship right across the street from the Methodist Church where Won-Joon Yoon was shot to death? Where he was shot for no other crime than his ethnicity and his belief system, in accord with the killer-church belief system? Would you support that?


Of course you would not.


So, give us all a break, why don't you.


***


The Anti-Defamation League has come out against the proposed Mosque at Ground Zero. In explaining his decision, Abraham Foxman invoked the "convent at Auschwitz."


This mention of the convent was inevitable but unfortunate.


In the 1980s, a controversy raged about Carmelite nuns establishing a convent near, not in, the former Auschwitz concentration camp. After much debate and international press attention, the convent was moved.


Comparing the convent to a mosque at Ground Zero poses several problems.


Nazism is not Christianity. Nazism was a largely scientific and Pagan movement. Nazism was hostile to and hoped, eventually, to eliminate, Christianity.
 Poles, Catholics, and members of Catholic religious orders were specially targeted victims of the Nazis. Historian Michael C. Steinlauf, son of Holocaust survivors, identified Poles as the third most persecuted national group in Nazi-occupied Europe. Poland lost c. twenty percent of its Catholic priests. Many were tortured in unspeakable ways. The Dachau concentration camp was known as the "largest monastery in Germany." One could go on.


The point is that however one feels about nuns living in a convent near Auschwitz, those nuns were not adherents to the philosophy of the killers of Auschwitz, and those nuns were members of the group expressly identified for victimization, enslavement, and eventual extermination by Nazis.


Further: There is no canonical Christian scripture that states, "Slay the non-Christians wherever you find them," or, "Crucify, and cut off the hands and feet of the non-Christians" or "Oh, Christian, there is a Jew hiding behind this tree, behind this rock, come and kill him." There is no canonical Christian scripture that says, "If any Christian wants to change his religion, kill him." None that demands a tax on all non-Christians. None that demands humiliation of all non-Christians. None that demands that anyone who insults, or mocks, or draws a picture of Jesus be killed. There is no canonical Christian scripture that demands that all Christian men take up arms and kill others until Christianity achieves world domination.


Muslim terrorists do cite their canonical scripture to support their actions.


Yes, Christians have done bad things. But they have done those bad things in opposition to their own canonical scripture; they have not done those bad things in accord with a scripture that demands that they do those bad things. Either you think that that distinction matters, or you do not. History would suggest that the canonical scripture to which one adheres, and to which the congregants of a given faith adhere, matters very much. It certainly mattered in the case of the Bloomington killer. He distributed his scripture freely. He told us what he planned to do. He did it. We responded with lawn signs.

No, the convent near Auschwitz and a proposed mosque at Ground Zero are very much not the same thing.


The convent near Auschwitz and the proposed mosque at Ground Zero are diametrically opposed in another respect: their treatment in elite academic and journalistic discourse. "Bieganski" meticulously details the contemptuous and often quite dishonest press coverage that the convent near Auschwitz received.


The New York Times, Newsweek, Tikkun – all felt quite free to denigrate or misrepresent Catholic Poles in their convent coverage.


For the record, I opposed the convent, and said so to Benjamin Meed, who encouraged me to send to the NYT a letter I had sent him. I did so. The Times did not publish it. Perhaps it was not inflammatory enough. I tried to respect everyone's position, but it seemed pretty clear that a building that had been associated with Auschwitz, though not actually in the camp itself, was not the place for a convent.


When it comes to the Mosque, the very same publications that jumped to denigrate Christians cannot seem to find any reason why a respectable citizen might oppose it. Any opposition is diagnostic of "racism." Racism is, of course, the cardinal sin in the Church of Political Correctness (as elegantly exposed by Shelby Steele.)


I so wish I had gotten the name of that man in Bloomington. The one, lone man at the town meeting that got it that tolerance of intolerance is not tolerance at all.

Nazism's Goal: Eliminate Christianity

From the Philadelphia Inquirer


Papers reveal Nazi aim: End Christianity Wednesday, January 9, 2002 By Edward Colimore INQUIRER STAFF WRITER


The fragile, typewritten documents from the 1940s lay out the Nazi plan in grim detail: Take over the churches from within, using party sympathizers. Discredit, jail or kill Christian leaders. And re-indoctrinate the congregants. Give them a new faith – in Germany's Third Reich.


More than a half-century ago, confidential U.S. government reports on the Nazi plans were prepared for the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg and will be available online for free starting tomorrow – some of them for the first time. These rare documents – in their original form, some with handwritten scrawls across them – are part of an online legal journal published by students of the Rutgers University School of Law at Camden.


"When people think about the Holocaust, they think about the crimes against Jews, but here's a different perspective," said Julie Seltzer Mandel, a third-year law student who is editor of the Nuremberg Project for the Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion.


"A lot of people will say, 'I didn't realize that they were trying to convert Christians to a Nazi philosophy.' . . . They wanted to eliminate the Jews altogether, but they were also looking to eliminate Christianity."


Mandel said the journal would post new Nuremberg documents about every six months, along with commentary from scholars across the world, on its Web site at www.lawandreligion.com.


The material is part of the archives of Gen. William J. Donovan, who served as special assistant to the U.S. chief of counsel during the International Military Tribunal after World War II. The trials were convened to hold accountable those responsible for war crimes.


The first installment – a 120-page report titled "The Nazi Master Plan: The Persecution of the Christian Churches" – was prepared by the Office of Strategic Services, a forerunner of the CIA.


"Important leaders of the National Socialist party would have liked to meet this situation [church influence] by complete extirpation of Christianity and the substitution of a purely racial religion," said an OSS report in July 1945. "The best evidence now available as to the existence of an anti-Church plan is to be found in the systematic nature of the persecution itself.


"Different steps in that persecution, such as the campaign for the suppression of denominational and youth organizations, the campaign against denominational schools, the defamation campaign against the clergy, started on the same day in the whole area of the Reich . . . and were supported by the entire regimented press, by Nazi Party meetings, by traveling party speakers."


A second online journal posting – to be added in about six months – will spotlight a secret OSS document, "Miscellaneous Memoranda on War Criminals," about the efforts of various countries to bring Nazis to justice.


A third installment – to be included in the journal in a year – focuses on translated, confidential Nazi documents. A message sent during the Kristallnacht ("Night of Broken Glass") pogrom of November 1938 is titled "Measures To Be Taken Against Jews Tonight." Authorities were given specific instructions: "Jewish shops and homes may be destroyed, but not looted. . . . Foreigners, even if Jewish, will not be molested."


Mandel, whose 80-year-old grandmother is a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, said that allowing the public access to such documentation is "phenomenal."


"Some of the papers will answer questions that scholars have been asking for years," said Mandel, 29, of Berlin Borough, Camden County. "What did we know? When did we know it?"


The documents are part of the collection of the Cornell University School of Law library, which has about 150 bound volumes of Nuremberg trial transcripts and materials. They are housed at the school and are being cataloged.


"Gen. Donovan kept extensive, detailed records of Nazi atrocities," said Mandel, who taught at Triton High School in Runnemede and at Shawnee High School in Medford, where she led a course on "Literature of the Holocaust."


She and other journal editors – Daniel Bahk, Christopher Elliott, Ross Enders and Jessica Platt – examined hundreds of documents at Cornell before choosing those to be posted on the journal site. "The project could not be published in a conventional journal without losing the international accessibility that it demands," said Rayman Solomon, dean of the School of Law. "This student initiative will make a significant contribution to legal history scholarship while being of great interest and importance to the general public, especially at this time in our history."


Greg Baxter, marketing editor of the journal and a third-year Rutgers law student, said the online project was "definitely pertinent in light of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack" and Bush administration plans to hold a military tribunal to try the accused.


"The Nuremberg trials provide a framework for today's trials," said Baxter, 24, of Winslow, Camden County.


***


January 13, 2002 Word for Word/The Case Against the Nazis; How Hitler's Forces Planned To Destroy German Christianity By JOE SHARKEY


THE chilling testimony of crimes against humanity by the Nazi regime in Hitler's Germany have been on the historical record since the Nuremberg war-crimes trials of 1945 and 1946. But any criminal prosecution, and especially one as mammoth as the case against Nazi Germany, consists of far more than public testimony in court. The Nuremberg trials were also built on many millions of pages of supporting evidence: documents, summaries, notes and memos collected by investigators.


One of the leading United States investigators at Nuremberg, Gen. William J. Donovan – Wild Bill Donovan of the O.S.S., the C.I.A.'s precursor – collected and cataloged trial evidence in 148 bound volumes of personal papers that were stored after his death in 1959 at Cornell University. In 1999, Julie Seltzer Mandel, a law student from Rutgers University whose grandmother survived the Auschwitz death camp, read them. Under the Nuremberg Project, a collaboration between Rutgers and Cornell, she has edited the collection for publication on the Internet.


The first installment, published last week on the Web site of the Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion (www.camlaw.rutgers.edu/publications/law-religion), includes a 108-page outline prepared by O.S.S. investigators to aid Nuremberg prosecutors. The outline, ''The Persecution of the Christian Churches,'' summarizes the Nazi plan to subvert and destroy German Christianity, which it calls ''an integral part of the National Socialist scheme of world conquest.''


Verbatim excerpts from the outline would require extensive explanations. Instead, the outline is summarized below. JOE SHARKEY


In the 1920's, as they battled for power, the Nazis realized that the churches in overwhelmingly Christian Germany needed to be neutralized before they would get anywhere. Two-thirds of German Christians were Protestants, belonging to one of 28 regional factions of the German Evangelical Church. Most of the rest were Roman Catholics. On one level, the Nazis saw an advantage. In tumultuous post-World War I Germany, the Christian churches ''had long been associated with conservative ways of thought, which meant that they tended to agree with the National Socialists in their authoritarianism, their attacks on Socialism and Communism, and in their campaign against the Versailles treaty'' that had ended World War I with a bitterly resentful Germany.


But there was a dilemma for Hitler. While conservatives, the Christian churches ''could not be reconciled with the principle of racism, with a foreign policy of unlimited aggressive warfare, or with a domestic policy involving the complete subservience of Church to State.'' Given that these were the fundamental underpinnings of the Nazi regime, ''conflict was inevitable,'' the summary states. It came, as Nazi power surged in the late 1920's toward national domination in the early 30's.


According to Baldur von Schirach, the Nazi leader of the German youth corps that would later be known as the Hitler Youth, ''the destruction of Christianity was explicitly recognized as a purpose of the National Socialist movement'' from the beginning, though ''considerations of expedience made it impossible'' for the movement to adopt this radical stance officially until it had consolidated power, the outline says.


Attracted by the strategic value inherent in the churches' ''historic mission of conservative social discipline,'' the Nazis simply lied and made deals with the churches while planning a ''slow and cautious policy of gradual encroachment'' to eliminate Christianity.


The prosecution investigators describe this as a criminal conspiracy. ''This general plan had been established even before the rise of the Nazis to power,'' the outline says. ''It apparently came out of discussions among an inner circle'' comprised of Hitler himself, other top Nazi leaders including the propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, and a collection of party enforcers and veteran beer-hall agitators.


The regional branches of the German Evangelical Church, the main Protestant body, were often administered and financed through governmental agencies. The Nazis saw a distinct advantage in having Protestant churches ''whose supreme administrative organs were located within the borders of Germany,'' the outline says. This facilitated plans ''to capture and use the church organization for their own purposes'' and ''to secure the elimination of Christian influences in the Evangelical Church by legal or quasi legal means.''


The Roman Catholic Church, centrally administered from Rome, posed a different problem for the Nazis, whose relationship with that church in the 1920's had been bitter. In 1933, when Germany was under Hitler's total control, the Nazis made ''unmistakable overtures'' to the Christian churches in general, and to Catholics in particular.


Having already witnessed fairly smooth relations after the 1929 Lantern treaty between Mussolini's fascist regime and the church in Italy, many German Catholics ''accepted the Nazi proposition'' of peaceful coexistence. In July 1933, a Concordat was signed between the Reich and the Holy See.


''For the first time since the Middle Ages, the Reich itself had entered into an agreement with the Roman Catholic Church,'' the outline says. ''Moreover, the new treaty was apparently entirely to the advantage of the church. In return for the retreat of German Catholicism from the political scene, the church was guaranteed, by international treaty, freedom for Catholic organizations [and] maintenance of denominational schools and youth education.''


All Hitler seemed to demand in return was ''a pledge of loyalty by the clergy to the Reich government and a promise that Catholic religious instruction would emphasize the patriotic duties of the Christian citizen.'' This posed no big problem for the church, the outline asserts. ''Since it had always been the practice of the Catholic Church to abide by established governments and to promote patriotic convictions among the faithful, these stipulations of the Concordat were no more than legalizations of an existing custom. The Concordat was hailed by church and state authorities as marking the beginning of a close and fruitful collaboration.''


Of course, the churches stayed in Hitler's good graces for only as long as the Nazis considered their cooperation expedient. Soon after Hitler assumed dictatorial powers, ''relations between the Nazi state and the church became progressively worse,'' the outline says. The Nazis ''took advantage of their subsequently increasing strength to violate every one of the Concordat's provisions.''


In 1937, Pope Pius XI denounced Nazi treachery in an encyclical that accused Hitler of ''a war of extermination'' against the church. The battle had been joined on some fronts. Nazi street mobs, often in the company of the Gestapo, routinely stormed offices in Protestant and Catholic churches where clergymen were seen as lax in their support of the regime.


The dissident pastor Martin Niemoller spoke openly now against state control of the Protestant churches. He was arrested and imprisoned in 1937 for using his pulpit for ''underhand attacks on state and party.'' When a judge acquitted him, ''on leaving court he was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to a concentration camp where he remained until the end of the war,'' says the outline.


Still, in a society where the entire Jewish population was being automatically condemned without public protest, care was taken to manipulate public perceptions about clergymen who fell into Nazi disfavor. ''The Catholic Church need not imagine that we are going to create martyrs,'' Robert Wagner, the Nazi Gauleiter of Baden, said in a speech, according to the O.S.S. study. ''We shall not give the church that satisfaction. She shall have not martyrs, but criminals.''


But once they had total power and set off to launch a world war, the Nazis made no secret of what lay in store for Christian clergymen who expressed dissent.


In Munich, Nazi street gangs and a Gestapo squad attacked the residence of the Roman Catholic cardinal. ''A hail of stones was directed against the windows, while the men shouted, 'Take the rotten traitor to Dachau!' '' the outline says, adding: ''After 1937, German Catholic bishops gave up all attempts to print'' their pastoral letters publicly and instead ''had them merely read from the pulpits.''


Then the letters themselves were confiscated.


''In many churches, the confiscation took place during Mass by the police snatching the letter out of the hands of the priests as they were in the act of reading it.''


Later the same year, dissident Protestant churches joined in a manifesto protesting Nazi tactics. In response, the Nazis arrested 700 Protestant pastors.


Objectionable statements made by the clergy would no longer be prosecuted in the courts, the Nazis said. Statements ''injurious to the State would be ruthlessly punished by 'protective custody,' that is, the concentration camp,'' the outline says.


http://org.law.rutgers.edu/publications/law-religion/nurinst1.shtml

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Censored Amazon Review: Stephen Bloom's "Postville"



In the early 2000's, I was writing "Bieganski."



Like most PhD candidates, I was apart from normal society, submersed in hundred-year-old debates about the place of Jews in Poland. I read critiques like that of Stanislaw Staszic, who sharply harangued Polish society as a three-part caste system.* On the bottom were "stupid, unindustrious, and lazy" peasants, "terrible drunkards," "unworthy of justice or freedom;" in the middle were their immediate superiors, Jewish agents, "bloodsuckers," who worked, in turn, for those at the top, exploitative and greedy Polish noblemen, who created taverns, "like a net, for trapping the peasants."


Stanislaw Staszic source
Stephen G. Bloom source
 As an escape from ancient and distant Poland, I picked up Stephen G. Bloom's 2001 book, "Postville," and I had that supremely weird sensation a researcher can get when she realizes that her marginal, cobwebbed obsession has some pertinence in the wider world.


Bloom probably didn't realize it, but he wrote a book that resonated with all those harangues protesting Poland's de facto caste system. Iowans and Lubavitcher Jews in Postville, Iowa, probably did not realize it, but they were acting out tensions parallel to those that had been acted out in Poland.


In 1987, Lubavitcher Jews opened a kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, whose population had mostly been Lutherans of German and Norwegian descent. A culture clash followed. I tried to summarize that culture clash in a review I submitted to Amazon. That review is below. Amazon never posted it. I've occasionally resubmitted it in the intervening years. It's not shown up.


I know what you are thinking. "You can't say that." I think the same thing. "You can't say that."


Anti-Semitism is real. There are snakes in the garden. Why feed them?


But. How do we talk about the very real issues that arose in Postville, in Poland, that are arising now in multicultural America, without saying things that could be exploited by snakes on every side (including the inside)?


You tell me. I'm listening.


This isn't just about Poles and Jews – and Iowans. This is about us all. Should English be the national language? Should four-year-old, physically handicapped, Ryan Thomas, the son of a police officer, been forced to remove his leg braces by airport security personnel, while Muslims in face veils walk through unimpeded? What's the difference between multiculturalism and balkanization?


I'm still listening.


It would be great if those who protested Bloom's book seriously tackled the issues he brings up. I read through the one-star reviews for "Postville" on Amazon. The one-star reviews conspicuously don't tackle the issues Bloom brings up. Rather, they misrepresent what Bloom wrote, and then they tackle Bloom himself. Bloom is a "self-hating Jew," a "gastronomic Jew." "I predict his grandchildren will not be Jewish."


Such ad hominem attacks merely squelch frankness and leave the issues to simmer beneath the surface of silent rage and resentment.


Below please find my (still censored) Amazon review of "Postville":


Stephen G. Bloom's "Postville," about recently arrived Lubavitcher Jews opening a slaughterhouse in rural Iowa, is one of the most shocking books I've ever read. Bloom says things that you are not supposed to say. If you do say the kind of things that Bloom says, you are supposed to say them with a truckload of disclaimers. Examples:


Postville residents, in true Iowa fashion, attempt to befriend the town's new Jewish arrivals – to invite them in for "cookies and Kool-aid" (86). They report that the Lubavitchers refuse to shake their hands, to greet, or to so much as look at them. "We're invisible to them," a resident says. "they look right through us like we don't exist" (47). "If they mix with us, they think we'll contaminate them . . . Like we have AIDS" (51). A man distributing fliers for a local event was stopped by a Jewish woman who would not even speak to him, but communicated with demeaning hand gestures (96).


Postville residents report that the Jews behave as if they are superior to the locals. Bloom himself asked, "Who died and made them rulers of the universe?" (82) One Lubavitcher "bellows", "We *are* the chosen people. That's what they Bible says, even the Bible *they* read" (67). Put-downs for non-Jews include "goyisher kop," meaning "stupid" (63), "eater of trayf," "eater of unclean food," (56) and "goyisher chozzerai," or "Gentile piggery" (210). Special put-downs are saved for African Americans (231).


"They were downright rude. They seemed to go out of their way to be obnoxious, especially when it came to business dealings. When they did their shopping, they bargained for the best prices, for everything from shoes and food to clothing and cars" (48). One Lubavitcher is depicted engaging in abusive business practices (211, 231); a rabbi steals merchandise from a shoe store. When confronted, he says, "Never raise your voice to me! Women are not to do that, ever!" (323). "No way could they possibly treat their own people as poorly as they treat us" (49).


Jews, according to the Lubavitchers' worldview, are not supposed to mix; they are a "nation within a nation" (73). Locals understood that religious proscription prevented the Jews from allowing Christians into their homes, though locals are eager to enter – "I'd give anything to do that!" (104, 174). Lubavitchers "stiffed" the local pastor's invitations (146). Jews received separate school facilities, and a separate swim time at the municipal pool (51, 111, 332). Oil, rather than candles, is used on the Sabbath, because oil does not mix, and it represents the need for Jews to remain separate (182). Assimilation is a "spiritual holocaust" (153). "The Jews are lambs surrounded by seventy wolves. . . We've got to stick close to each other . . . If we don't, we might get eaten" said the rabbi (147). Another said, "Wherever we go, we don't adapt to the place or the people . . .It's the place and the people who have to adapt to *us*" (209).


The Lubavitcher ethos was in sharp contrast to the majority local, Christian, agricultural Iowan one. "Through the brutal Iowa winters, scorching summers, pesticide-thick springs, around-the-clock autumn harvests, a communal bond was crucial if the community was to survive. Maintaining this support system was the undergirding of rural life . . .a collective soul arose" (56). One foundation of this Iowan ethos was modesty. It was not appropriate to be showy with wealth. This contrasted with the Lubavitchers' ostentation (151). Even appearance was a contrast: "The ruddy, weathered skin tone of the Iowans was anathema to the Hasidim . . . Jews spend their time inside. . . [the outdoors] was for goys who raked leaves or tinkered with cars" (165). There was concern that the Lubavitchers would not so much as allow the fire department to put out fires in their homes (86-7). "The Jews *were* out of sync with the natural symmetry I was growing to understand" concluded Bloom (114).


Locals did not find work in the slaughterhouse. The Lubavitchers imported workers from Eastern Europe for the dirtiest, lowest paid, non-union work (133-4). These workers were "prohibited from entering" a break room devoted to the slaughterhouse's Jewish workers who certified the meat as kosher (244-5). "I felt I wasn't in Postville at all, but in a working-class Eastern European village" (135).


[Bloom's description of the Eastern European workers reminded me of my father's description of Hunky immigrants and their "strong backs."


"Newly arrived non-English-speaking immigrants from Eastern Europe … all gentiles … had to have strong backs for lifting and sliding the giant carcasses along the factory kill floor and for hauling the heavy boxes of cut-up beef and chicken parts into refrigerated trucks. They had to tolerate sickening sights and putrid odors and be willing to work in the packinghouse's near freezing temperatures for eight, ten hours a day" (133).]


If local Iowans voiced any objection to any Lubavitcher behavior, they were dismissed as anti-Semites (65, 159, 198). Anti-Semitism was a problem, some concluded. A Jewish family received hang-up phone calls, swastikas were spray painted on buildings, and a Jewish boy was run off the road (119, 124).


The book closes with the commission of a crime by a Jew, who though he had "been involved in two robberies and an attempted murder" would not sign an affidavit because it was the Sabbath (253). Locals perceived a double standard in what they saw as a lenient sentence (256). Bloom condemned the Lubavitcher community's callous disregard of the victim (257). Bloom interpreted the crime as "a perverted outgrowth of . . . [an] an us-against-them mentality" (273).


My plan was to close with a sermonette on the responsibilities of an author writing about badly behaved members of a stigmatized minority, and on the considerable significance of this book to debates on multiculturalism. But I see that I've used up my allotment of words just summarizing the material that shocked me. I can only say that I have mixed feelings. Anti-Semitism is very real. And yet . . . In some ways it is exactly Bloom's no-apologies, Politically Incorrect approach that makes "Postville" stand out.


Would I have the courage to write a similar book about badly behaved members of my own stigmatized ethnicity? For his courage, I give Bloom's book five stars.


* Aleksander Hertz "The Jews in Polish Culture" uses caste as a way to understand Poland's pre-WWII social system.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Commodifying Mel Gibson's Dysfunction: Frank Rich, Shmuley Boteach, Christopher Hitchens


Everything is not for sale, but anything can be commodified.

Anything, no matter how despicable, can be lusted after, bought, and sold.

Toxic waste? Paging Tony Soprano, "waste management consultant."

Your worst heartbreak? Where would the patent-holders for Prozac be without it, or the makers of three-handkerchief, weepie films?

The Apocalypse? Undertakers, bunker diggers, FEMA.


Nature produces its own carrion-cravers: vultures, worms, maggots, e. coli, fungi, dung beetles, blowflies. They jealously hoard feces, rot, and death – just like New York Times columnist Frank Rich, Michael-Jackson-profiteer Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, and atheist pontiff Christopher Hitchens, who all lust after exclusive possession of Mel Gibson's mad mind.


We've all seen so much horror: the planes flying into the World Trade Center, Britney Spears without underwear. Even a jaded modern ear is shocked by the Mel Gibson audio. Gibson verbally brutalizes Oksana Grigorieva, the mother of his baby daughter, with blowtorch prose and the panting of a wolf who's just gulped down some hot flesh and pauses before the next jawful. He delivers the empowered abuser's classic coup-de-grace against his less powerful victim: "No one will believe you."


Some argue that discussion of celebrities' private lives is beneath contempt. Often, under the overt snobbery of that more-righteous-than-thou stance, lurks misogyny. These "soap opera" stories that make the front page – usually the private club of alpha males – often revolve around powerful public men's private treatment of women. Because the figures are larger than life, they take on this quality of myths: people use these narratives to talk about abstractions like "abuse" and "feminism." The conversation is worth hearing.


I sometimes teach women's studies classes. All the scholarly tomes in the world cannot educate me quite like reading the Mel Gibson discussion board at International Movie Database.


One poster fantasizes, graphically, repeatedly battering Oksana Grigorieva's private parts. She is identified as a "whore" and a "slut" more often than as a "lover" or a "mother." Many invoke her ethnicity. "These bloodsucking, conniving, Russian c---s," they begin. Many justify Gibson's violence: "She asked for it … She deserved it … When a woman does that, you have to beat her."


Women who object to Gibson are probably "dykes who need a shower and to shave their armpits" or "fat slobs who no man would want to touch."


All this is written by apparently educated, cultured posters in crystal clear prose; all this is supported by other comradely men, eager to slap the virtual back, buy the virtual beer, for a brother-in-arms. Against those bitches and c---s and whores. The gold diggers. The deservers of baseball bats to their temples. Them. Women.


Women who hear the Gibson audio, and hear men in public justifying it, learn their place in this man's world.

***

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is typified by a sense that one is superior to others, and can act accordingly, a lack of empathy with other people's feelings, a sense that one deserves special treatment, and anger when one's sense of being special is violated.


Either Mel Gibson suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or he was doing his very best imitation of it.


A terrorized lover and mother, her lover offering to take a baseball bat to her head, to bury her in a rose garden, telling her that she deserved to be hit so badly that he broke her teeth – while she was holding their baby: this is ugly and scary and heartbreaking.


Too many women – and men – have had to live with abuse like this, and in less enlightened, less financially comfortable times and places, had no place to go when hubbie or daddy or boss or mommy, for that matter, decided to act out the inner monster and feed on wife and kids and underlings.


Ugliness and tragedy: Gibson is a terrifically talented human being. I first saw him in Peter Weir's "The Year of Living Dangerously." There's no better film on the expat's life, and no better performance of that life than Gibson's in that film. One must mention how beautiful he was back then, with the kind of youth, talent and promise that could have gone anywhere. It didn't have to end up like this. Did it?


Mel Gibson, Sigourney Weaver "The Year of Living Dangerously"
source: LA Times link


Is this car wreck the result of cruel, blind fate? The conniving of capricious Olympians – he whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad? Was it genes? Was it sin? Was it the inevitable result, the ugly fruit, of his beautiful talent: fans defer; the star morphs into Caligula, coming to demand slavishness?


Ugliness. Agony. Who would want these products? This trash, this waste, these filthy, pus-soaked rags? Answer: Frank Rich, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, and Christopher Hitchens. These three men, like vultures at a corpse, stamp and scream, hiss and insist: "This is mine, mine, all mine! And I glory in it! And I will possess it exclusively!"


In his New York Times column, Frank Rich works hard to convince his readers: Mel Gibson's terrorizing of his lover, their daughter and her son is intimately related to everything Rich has ever hated: George Bush, Pope John Paul II, Catholicism, St. Matthew's Gospel, Fox News, Karl Rove, William Donahue of the Catholic League, Bill O'Reilly, James Dobson, FCC indecency rules, and the Tea Party.


Mel Gibson threatened his girlfriend; aren't Catholics creepy?


Mel Gibson called his girlfriend a whore; aren't you glad Bush is gone and Obama is now president?


Mel Gibson ranted then panted. Death to the Tea Party!


You get the (nauseating) idea.


Boteach's AOL News article leads with Gibson's acceptance of Catholic ex cathedra – "from the chair" – dogma of "extra ecclesiam nulla salus" – no salvation outside the church. Because, you know, everyone who accepts Catholic dogma calls his girlfriend a c--- and threatens to hit her in the head with a baseball bat. Tsk tsk tsk. These primitive Catholics.


Boteach goes on. The Gospel of Matthew. Bad. Daily mass attendance. An ominous omen. But Rabbi Boteach is here to offer absolution: "What Gibson must do is immediately issue an unscripted, public apology for his reprehensible statements about Jews and blacks."


Really. I'm not kidding. Boteach's article actually says that. A man threatens to kill a woman who is neither Jewish nor black, and the only way he can regain America's good graces is to deliver an apology to a rabbi for his wrongs to Jews and blacks. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach epitomizes the commodification of, the jealous, all-consuming lust for, someone else's pain.


Christopher Hitchens demonstrates this insatiable greed, as well. One need read no further than the first sentence of his commentary. Gibson mistreats his girlfriend? What do you expect of the Catholic who made a film about Jesus' death and resurrection – a "bloody myth"? Hitchens' main idea: Everything you need to understand about Gibson you can find out by identifying him as a Catholic. Hitchen's supportive evidence: Well, didn't those Catholics support Hitler? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Just ask the priests imprisoned in Dachau.

***

Roman Polanski is a brilliant filmmaker. The world would be a lesser place without Polanski's talent, showcased in masterpieces like "The Pianist."


Roman Polanski is a confessed child rapist. And a Jew. And a Holocaust survivor.


What would Frank Rich, Shmuley Boteach, and Christopher Hitchens make of any anti-Semite who tried to piggyback those disparate features of Polanski's biography into one seamless identity? Into cause and effect? What would Rabbi Shmuley say about an article that ostensibly addressed Polanski's status as a child rapist and fugitive from justice, but that began with a discussion of Talmudic doctrine, in the way that Boteach's article about Gibson's abuse of Grigorieva begins with a discussion of Catholic dogma?


Any columnist who so much as attempted such a heinous trick would be pilloried and permanently marginalized. Rightfully so.


That won't happen to Rich, Boteach, or Hitchens. Because of the Christophobic double standard dominant in academia and mainstream journalism that we accept as we accept the air we breathe.

***
In September, 2009, MacKenzie Phillips alleged that her father, Papa John Phillips, of the 1960s singing group the Mamas and the Papas, drugged her, raped her, and then carried on a ten year affair with her. At one point she aborted a child, fearing it might be his. Dad – granddad – paid for the abortion.


Did New York Times and other big-name columnists rush to attribute Phillips' drugging, raping and impregnation of his own daughter to his "Free Love," "If it feels good, do it," Hippie lifestyle? If so, I missed it.


***


Christophobic Leftists and atheists hold as dogma that Christianity is responsible for misogyny. I've heard many a professor say as much within earshot of other professors, in settings where I was the only one to protest (not to my own benefit when it comes to hiring and firing.)


They have airbrushed out of history Stokley Carmichael's apt assessment and dictate: "The position of women in the movement is prone." They refuse to acknowledge that one of the most infamous crimes against women in history, the mass rapes committed by the Red Army, was supervised and approved by an atheist communist, Joseph Stalin.

They've never heard of Rodney Stark, and his assessment that Christianity so elevated women's status that they, women, were responsible for Christianity's rise. Or "Bare Branches," a book on female infanticide, that reports that when explorers first arrived in Australia, which had been isolated for at least 50,000 years, they found a culture so hostile to females that for every one hundred and fifty males, there were one hundred females. Leftist feminists have been blind, deaf and dumb when it comes to gender apartheid in the Muslim world. After all, only Christians, especially Catholics, do bad things to women.


Rich, Boteach, and Hitchens may or may not be that ideologically driven. Maybe it isn't about ideology to them. Maybe it's just about what it looks like: hate.


Oksana Grigorieva has been violated at least twice. Once by Mel Gibson, and then again by Rich, Boteach, and Hitchens, who, like vultures at a corpse, rush to grab this mess of pain as theirs, theirs, and theirs alone, and then to exploit it to make the world an even more hateful place.

***

My thoughts (and I still stand by them) on "The Passion of the Christ."

Roman Vishniac


Source: SFMOMA link

Roman Vishniac (1897-1990) published "A Vanished World," famous photos of devout, impoverished, persecuted Jews in early twentieth century Poland and Eastern Europe.



On April 4, 2010, the New York Times published "A Closer Reading of Roman Vishniac." The article begins:


"'A Vanished World,' evoked what many have come to imagine as life in the shtetl: elegiac images of small cities and provincial villages, their hunchback rabbis walking cobblestone streets, Talmud prodigies studying by candlelight, men whispering in courtyards – a vision lighted with authenticity and charged with nostalgia … His pictures were used in so many influential books about Jewish life before the Holocaust – as illustrations for books by Isaac Bashevis Singer and Irving Howe and later serving as what Janusz Kaminski called the 'guiding force' for his Oscar-winning cinematography of 'Schindler's List' – that Vishniac has virtually become, in the words of Leon Wieseltier 'the official mortuary photographer of Eastern European Jewry.'"


The article goes on to state that Vishniac manipulated his documentary photography to suit ideological and financial ends. Example: a famous photograph identified as being of Jews hiding from Roman Dmowski's followers in Poland was not in fact a photograph of Jews hiding from Roman Dmowski's followers in Poland.


The Holocaust played a role in Vishniac's work's reception, the article states.


"the Holocaust twisted ambivalent affection into paralytic grief. After the war, it became difficult to view prewar images as anything but a prelude to destruction – a backshadowing that distilled the complicated, multifaceted reality of prewar Jewish life into a two-dimensional shrine."


This is one of the key arguments of my own book, "Bieganski."


Vishniac's unpublished photographs include those of "women in modern dress and men without hats, religious people comfortably consorting with secular people, shopkeepers with plenty of wares"


Arno Lowi, who studied Polish Jews and whose father lived in Krakow before the war and survived the Plaszow Concentration Camp, shared with me an interesting reflection on the Vishniac article:


***


I knew that all that stuff was a nostalgic confabulation, that wasn't entirely unconscious, but willed. The fact that the JDC [The The Joint Distribution Committee, a Jewish relief organization] specifically commissioned Vishniac to submit pix of the poor Jews in order to maximize fundraising efforts is a juicy bit of info.


Over his bed, my father hung a painted portrait of his father and mother, from 1930s Poland. His father had no hat or head covering, was clean shaven, wore a tie and jacket, and had smartly cropped hair, and that's how he always looked. His mother looked like a well dressed German matron. My father's sisters were well dressed, fashionable, in Poland, heels, summer dresses, suits, fancy hats, jewelry.


My father and his brother Sam and his sister had no interest in Vishniac, and had no interest in nostalgia, and had no interest in poor Jews, none at all. To my father, a poor Jew was someone to rip off, and then make fun of for his naiveté. My aunt is 95. She's still well-dressed; she learned good style on the fashionable streets of Cracow in the thirties.


Poland from 1850 to WW2 was full of all kinds of Jews, but mostly it was full of Jews in transition; many of the best chess players in Poland in the 1910s, 1920s and 1930s were Jews who had absconded from religion and signed up for logic and secular argumentation, i.e. chess. Many of them were supposed to become torah scholars, and instead became chess scholars by the time they were ten or twelve.


The story "The Chosen" by Chaim Potok could have taken place, not just in 1960s Brooklyn, but in 1910 Odessa, Krakow, Warsaw, Lodz, or Lublin. The 'conversion' of the pre-modern Polish Jew to a modern scholar, athlete, scientist, businessman, swindler, gambler, jazz player, journalist, cabaret-owner started to take place even before the 1850s, but it started to accelerate about then, due to critical mass and changes in the world, which Poland, despite the myths, was part of.


Some of the research I did to get ready for my doctoral dissertation was a big scandal fought between modern Jews who made fun of the religious narrow-minded conservatives, and the religious conservatives. The fight was carried out in newspapers, in Polish, Yiddish, and Hebrew. It lasted over a year. Date? 1857. Place? Brody, which was then in Poland. I translated hundreds of newspaper articles from microfilm, which showed that there was a substantial population of Jews who scorned the religious groups, and thought they were fossils and backward. This population of Jews was engaged not in scholarship, but in business, alongside Polish businessmen.


That's another myth – that all the Poles were poor and stupid. There were Jewish and Polish intellectuals, university students, labour organizers, athletes, who interacted, were friends, and didn't make a big deal about who was Jewish and who was Polish. They also fell in love with each other and married each other. All this, a century before 1939.


"Fiddler on the Roof," probably even more than Vishniac, did more to distort the historical image than anything else. "Fiddler on the Roof" distorted Sholem Aleichem's work. Sholem Aleichem was not at all interested in nostalgia; he was a satirist; he met, knew, and felt a strong kinship with, Mark Twain. He was not an observant Jew. His stories were stories for secular Jews, who read modern novels and stories and who were interested in literature and art. He would never have taken on the commission that Vishniac took on.


Some people may argue, "But Sholom Aleichem wrote in his will that any of his children or grandchildren who marry non Jews are written out of their inheritance." Yes, true, but he was non-observant. He was a satirist. He would have sued the makers of "Fiddler on the Roof" and he would have obtained court injunctions to block any public screening of the movie.


People will just say "I like 'The Fiddler on the Roof' myth; I like my myths. Who cares about facts or accuracy? I prefer my nostalgia straight up."


***


The Times published many thoughtful letters in response to "A Closer Reading of Roman Vishniac."


Readers wrote to say that other famous photographers, including Robert Capa, not just Roman Vishniac, were under investigation for not accurately representing their work. One reader protested that "the writer, Alana Newhouse, gives credence to the voguish canard that Jews fabricate their victimization to suit their needs." Another wrote to protest the lack of focus on Vishniac's scientific work.


One wrote, "It's not so hard to understand why some American Jews would find it less threatening to think of those who fell victim to Nazi genocide as exotic and even as primitive ancestors, utterly unlike themselves and thus safely situated in the picturesque past."


"A Closer Reading of Roman Vishniac"

Letters in response to "A Closer Reading of Roman Vishniac"

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Looking Down a Mineshaft

Michael Stanley Jaworski 1918-2010
PFC NJ State Guard Calvary 1943-1946

I received a couple of moving posts from Chris Jaworski and Michael Kelemen in response to "Get me a hunky; I need a donkey."



Chris is of Polish Catholic descent, Michael, of Polish Jewish.


Chris wrote:


"I read your hunky-donkey blog post and feel I am standing at the top of a mine shaft, looking down into it. There is so much in our underground past, entire worlds, hidden from view. A hard life for your father. I am glad you sat down to interview him, and he was open to telling you about his life.


Contrast to my father's way, which was to impose a media blackout on his past. I'm joking, but not entirely.


Only when I was about 30 did I ask him about himself. He was born in Portage, southwestern Pennsylvania, 217 miles from Throop, as the googlebird flies. I just read now of the Slavic workers in that area.


The only memory my dad had of living there was of standing alone in the middle of an open field, crying. Not sure when that was, or how old he was, or how many years his parents and two brothers were there, but at some point they moved to Newark."


Chris supplemented his reply with this information:


"Mines in the immediate vicinity of Portage were contained within the valleys of Spring Run and Trout Run which form a "V" shape with an intersect at Portage on the western end. A number of satellite mining communities were also established in association with these mines including Sonman, Shoemaker, and Benscreek to the northeast and Blue Bird, Miller Shaft, Red Bird, Fiddler's Green, Puritan, and Martindale to the southeast. Portage's Main Line location at the base of the "V" and the center of operations made it a natural residential and commercial hub. Although there were no mines listed as Portage mines, Portage miners worked in all mines up and down the line." source

Michael's responses, and my responses to him, below:


"Very interesting story. It would make a good movie starring Charles Bronson."


Charles Bronson, of course, was of Lithuanian and Lipka Tartar ancestry, one of the diverse ethnic and religious groups in the old, Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth.


My dad was very handsome – a cross between Errol Flynn and Clark Gable. He really had the look of his era, the 1940s, when he was a soldier in the Pacific under General Douglas MacArthur.


It's funny how people can look like they are from a certain place or ethnic group – can look Polish or Jewish or Native American or what have you – but they can also look like they are of a certain time. My dad was of a more elegant, more homey time in American history.


"It sounds like your Dad didn't know much about Poland"


I'm not sure that that is what was going on.


Rather, I think this was part of it: I've interviewed many people, and the "I don't know anything; why are you asking me this" response, often borderline hostile or escapist, is fairly common among c. 1880-1929 Bohunk immigrants.


When you really nail these people down, you often discover that they do know a lot.


Why, then, do they swat questions away? Several factors:


1.) Shame. The c. 1880-1929 immigration generated the most violent and terminal racism of any immigration to the US, bar none. They were the only group voted by congress to be banned from America on the basis of their proven racial inferiority. They had virtually no supporters. The mainstream press, the universities, many writers, the White House, the unions – everybody hated them and openly assessed them as near animals. These accusations were standard in the New York Times, the floor of congress, etc. There were violence, lynchings, and other killings, sometimes sanctioned by the government and carried out by government thugs.


I interviewed one woman who insisted she had nothing to say. With prodding, she produced detailed accounts of life in her Old Country village, but before and after every morsel of information, she distanced herself from it. "the villagers believed … but I'm not superstitious. I don't believe that stuff. The villagers did this and that … but I don't do that. I'm much more modern."


2.) Personal pain. These departures were very traumatic, and there was often no connection with the homeland. People couldn't write, or didn't write heart-to-heart letters. No phones. No easily accessible air travel. No money. No stability in the homeland – World Wars One and Two saw to that. People learned not to think about it, not to feel about it. What people left often also caused them pain they didn't want to revisit. Christian peasants might say something like, "I had one bowl of cabbage soup a day to eat. I left and never looked back and I don't even want to think about it." This period of immigration was a tough one for Jews. Many didn't want to focus on the anti-Semitic attitudes and violence they left behind. They wanted to look forward, not back.


"When you asked him about life there he just said it was bad because the Czars wanted everything. It's hard for someone reading to know what that means."


The Russians are widely assessed as having been the worst of Poland's three colonizers after the late eighteenth-century partitions. In the Russian partition, as my book "Bieganski" states, "Russification forbade the Polish language in public places; eventually students were forbidden from owning any book not assigned in class; this was just part of enforced, methodical educational stagnation" (163) Under Russia, in the early twentieth century, 65 % of the population was illiterate. The Russians, after the Prussians and the Austrians, were the last to liberate Poland's serfs, only in 1861. Prussia liberated serfs in 1811, Austria in 1848. Brian Porter talks about this in "When Nationalism Began to Hate" 79, 81.


Do I know that because I heard it from my dad or because I read it in Brian Porter? Both, I guess. I heard it throughout my childhood from my dad, and what I read in scholarly texts just backed up his comments.


"Later in your interview you note that the Polish nobility had no regard for their peasants so I'd assume that there was oppression with or without the Russians."


Absolutely. There are many texts from many would-be social reformers decrying the brutal oppression and exploitation Polish peasants were subject to.


That attitude is not dead. A scholar of Polish history (who would probably prefer not to be named here) told me that he regarded Poland as one of the most class-conscious countries in the world. It all stems from the szlachta society.


In twentieth and twenty-first century America I've received emails from Polish Americans condemning me for being open about my peasant and working class roots. Why don't I shut up about peasants and serfs and blue collar workers and focus on Chopin, Kosciuszko, Pope John Paul II?


"That's how it is with most family info especially before they had education. Vague answers are the most you get. Even today, if you ask me for much about certain topics I couldn't say much more than your Dad did about Poland."


I think you really have to be like a persistent mosquito, trying and trying before you can alight and find the vein. You have to figure out the right angle to go at the question.


"When I was interviewing my family for my genealogy research I found that they would get irritated when I asked for details because very often I couldn't understand the context which framed the event they were talking about so I had to ask a million questions that they didn't expect."


Try booze. Language teachers say that foreign language learners speak more fluently with a little booze in them.


But, seriously.


Here's just one example. I asked an informant if he had ever experienced anti-Semitism in the US. He kept saying no, but somehow I had a sense that he wasn't telling me the whole story. Just as one attempt, I asked, "Did anything ever happen to you that made you – " and I cringed. And it all came out after that. He said that my cringing brought the memories forth.


"In the late 80s I attended some classes about American labour history. They gave us reading materials every week and one long chapter was about ethnic people like your Dad who worked in the American steel mills. The key point was that the companies deliberately played the different ethnic groups off against one another (eg. by means of favouritism) in order to keep them from uniting in a workers movement against the company."


Yup, exactly, and that is – to get off on a controversial tangent – one concern I have about immigration to the US today.


New Jersey is a wildly diverse state, racially, ethnically, linguistically, religiously. With the recent huge numbers of immigrants, there is a real hostility and attendant atomization here. Link to John Leo's article about Robert Putnam's research, below.


Research suggests that mass immigration and failed assimilation produces a society that is, potentially, easily dominated and manipulated by elites, because there is no sense of community, no social capital, to make participatory democracy and a sense of civic duty function.


My dad's take on the role played by the Irish is echoed by immigration historians. The Irish came in overwhelming, more or less uniform numbers after the potato famine. Though they were hated, there were so many of them that they were able to flood various centers of power, including the cops on the beat and Catholic priests. Up till, say, 1960, it was standard in Hollywood movies to depict cops and priests with an Irish accent. (See, for example, "Bells of St. Mary's.") The Irish, so mindful of their own victimization, became very good at representing the wishes of the elite vis-à-vis the c. 1880-1929 immigrants. Older Poles, for example, talked about being unwelcome in Irish-dominated Catholic churches.


John Leo on Robert Putnam's work on immigration and social capital